Bangladesh has an opportunity of raising $12.5 billion in the medium-term fund for climate action-related development work by initiating appropriate policy measures to address risks in climate adaptation, leaders of the Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have said.
The government should fix three priority areas for climate-resilient growth and development – people-centric and climate-smart development, delivering development benefits with decarbonisation and enabling environmental and institutional realignment, they said at a discussion on Sunday.
The event on green value chain was organised at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on the opening day of the two-day Investment Expo-2023, celebrating the 60-year journey of FICCI.
Delivering the keynote presentation, Prof Imran Rahman, vice chancellor of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, said that the Green Value Chain is involved with responsible and environmentally friendly sourcing, operations and distribution.
"The main barrier to greening is the lack of harmonisation, environmental goals, coordination between government agencies, awareness, access to finance, and expertise on green technologies, and weak monitoring system and energy security uncertainty," he added.
Prof Imran emphasised that the government should initiate fiscal measures and address the anomalies in the tax system, adding, "Fiscal measures, especially incentives, are needed for all economic players, particularly small and medium companies to adopt greener sourcing and operations".
He stressed that the Green Value Chain should be discussed at a wider forum consisting of all kinds of production units – micro to large, super level of the government and institutes like the FBCCI.
Addressing as the chief guest, Abul Kalam Azad, a co-chair of Smart Bangladesh Network and a former principal secretary to the prime minister, said that the government can give incentives to the green companies in different ways, such as monetary incentives, tax incentives, and social incentives.
"Green growth must be cost effective, otherwise it will be impossible to achieve ESG and SDG goals," he added.
Mohsina Yasmin, executive member of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, said that there is a lack of adequate policy and incentives for greener investment in the country.
Urging stockholders to come forward with recommendations for the draft of a government policy to foster greener investment, she said, "Currently, the NBR provides some tax benefits which are very disappointing to comprehensive policy suggestions needed for green investment."
Stefan Liller, the resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said, "We can facilitate policy dialogue between the private sector, government and other entities to conduct research on incentives given in other countries."
Mentioning that human capital is one of the key priorities for the government and private sector, he stated that the pressure will be high on Bangladesh to develop things such as the Greener Value Chain after the LDC graduation.
"But we need to make a lot of further investments to develop human capital for the future," added Liller.
The president of DCCI Barrister Sameer Sattar said the concept of sustainability and green practices is just at a nascent stage for small to medium enterprises owing to a lack of knowledge and financial resources.
"Access to finance has always been an issue for small to medium enterprises, with some challenges such as lack of awareness, knowledge, skills and fiscal incentives," he added.
Yasir Azman, chief executive officer of Grameenphone Ltd, underscored the need for investment and risk-taking appetite, supportive policy initiatives including incentives and customer acceptance of innovation to ensure environmental sustainability.
Nihad Kabir, the chairperson of private sector think-tank Business Initiative Leading Development, also spoke.